Blair quotes Paisley from the ‘teabreak’: “there’s you, a young man of 54 just leaving power and me a man of eighty just coming in”. Thereby hangs a tail… Tributes for John Major, Hain and Bertie… “Relations between Britain and Ireland have been transformed”. He cites the Croke Park match (“wrong result, great match”) as a sign of that transformation. John Hume, (the absent) David Trimble get mentioned. On Paisley, “I lost count of the times I was told that he would not share power. He told me under the right circumstances, he would not flinch. And he was as good as his word”. On Republicans, “I believed they were genuine. They had the foresight to see that the road to peace was the only one to follow”. Many believed NI was “not so much a dispute, as a fact of life”. He was told that “the compromises necessary that were too ugly”. “Never believe that people want conflict when they are given a choice of peace”.
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty